One of the reasons NextPage was never a PC or Mac app was because I could never bring myself to trust a laptop during live performance. I simply had too many scars from Windows BSODs (Blue Screens of Death) in just regular everyday office computing. Besides that, a laptop just seemed too cumbersome to go on top of a piano or keyboard. The iPad changed my thinking and NextPage was ultimately born, but I still had phantom BSOD’s in the back of my mind. I created NextPage to be as bulletproof as possible (and for the record, it has never crashed on me during performance), but I still had nagging doubts about trusting my sheet music to something electronic for a Really Important Performance.
This past Easter Sunday I was on keyboards for our church’s two blended (traditional/contemporary) services. I have been using NextPage regularly during Sunday morning services since last November without any issues, but on Easter, we typically have more music on than normal, and the timing of everything becomes critical as we tend to move between songs more quickly. Moreover, on Easter there is especially no room for epic sheet music FAILS. In the past this might have meant music falling on the floor or blowing over, or perhaps missing a strategic page turn. So while it was not a major “crisis of faith,” I was definitely calling on my iPad, and NextPage in particular, to run like a fine Swiss watch.
Happily, both the iPad and NextPage performed flawlessly through both services. Even though I fed NextPage some rather larger PDF files to handle for a few of the songs, I experienced no lag during page turns, which I did with finger swipes and also wirelessly with the PageFlip Cicada (not an affiliate link). I discovered the PageFlip just a few weeks ago, and after rehearsing with it a bit I felt comfortable enough to give it a trial on Easter Sunday. The PageFlip does have some nice advantages over the AirTurn, but each has it’s place depending on how you’re preforming. Look for full reviews of both the PageFlip and the AirTurn BT-105 in future posts.
A handy thing you might try with NextPage is to add your service order bulletin or performance program as the first or last “song” in your set. If there are a complicated sequences of events during the performance and you suddenly forget what’s next, you can simply using the Set List to hop back to the program and jog your memory. I only do it for special occasions, but it was a definitely a gray hair saver this past weekend.
Another thing I did to ensure success was to practice good iPad hygiene. Since iOS supports multi-tasking, you will undoubtedly always have more apps running than you think, all soaking up precious resources. When setting up for live performance with NextPage, the first thing I always recommend that you do is double-click the Home button and terminate all of the other apps you have running. To terminate them, simply tap and hold on one of them until they all start to wiggle, then tap the red “minus” badges.
I think I’m finally past the bad old BSOD jitters.
Do you have any horror stories with computers crashing during live performance?